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review 2018-02-18 02:03
The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy
The Dark Net - Benjamin Percy

I knew nothing about this book when a friend recommended it.  In fact, when I opened to the first page, I expected a story steeped in the technological complexities of the dark web with some subtle social commentary on the value of anonymity on the internet and a cyberpunk vibe.  In fact, based on the synopsis, I first tagged it as a “sci fi” read on Goodreads.

 

Instead, I found a creepy horror story set in Portland, Oregon that uses technology as a backdrop for demons who want to open a portal to hell.  Not that technology and the dark web don’t play a part in the story because they do, particularly in the final third of the book.  I can’t imagine anything more ominous than demons who are technologically savvy!

 

Interestingly however, the main character is completely technologically challenged.  A journalist who lives for the story, I found Lela a slightly unlikeable character.  Although I loved her “sidekick” - her dog, Hemingway.  The cast of characters is rounded out with Lela’s blind niece Hannah who is outfitted with a prothesis called “Mirage” that allows her to see in a unique way, a formerly-corrupt televangelist now going by the name of Juniper and a mysterious woman who may (or may not) be immortal.

 

I really enjoyed the first part of the book as we meet all of the characters and start to get a glimpse of the horror to come.  The epilogue is fantastic - I love where the author took the characters.  I also really enjoyed the setting - I’ve had the pleasure of spending enough time in Portland on business that I recognize many of the landmarks, streets and of course, the truly amazing bookstore, Powell’s.  If I have a criticism, it’s that there are a lot of characters to keep up with in a relatively short book (my edition is 253 pages including epilogue).

 

If you enjoyed Andrew Pyper’s The Demonologist or Joe Hill’s NOS4R2, you should consider picking this one up.  It has the same creepy flavour and end of the world overtones, but be prepared for a faster pace and less character development.

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url 2018-02-17 18:35
New in book series this weekend and Monday (aka my weekly finding of books likely initially missing from or missing covers on booklikes)
Fifty Fifty (Harriet Blue) - James Patterson,Candice Fox
Bound in Ashes: Paranormal BBW Shapeshifter Dragon Romance (Drachen Mates Book 4) - Milly Taiden
Earthbound (Dragons and Druids) (Volume 2) - Leia Stone
A Shade of Vampire 56: A League of Exiles (Volume 56) - Bella Forrest
Dark Strength (Refuge Book 3) - Cynthia Sax,Amanda Kelsey
PACO: Night Rebels Motorcycle Club (Night Rebels MC Romance Book 5) - Chiah Wilder,Hot Tree Editing,Lisa Cullinan
Up In Smoke: A King Series Novel - T.M. Frazier
Source: www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-17 01:51
The Dark Calling Review Ramble
The Dark Calling - Kresley Cole The Dark Calling - Kresley Cole

I'd really been looking forward to the next book in the Arcana Chronicles series and this one just didn't work that well for me. Usually I do a series reread leading up to a new release and didn't this time. Maybe I was behind on a bunch of details? I don't know. TDC just didn't grab me like the last books had. The ending also makes me cranky. Harrumph. 

 

***My review is spoilery and full of rambles. I'm in a weird place after reading this book.***

 

Arcana Rising (book #5) ended with Evie living with Arik and pregnant with his child. :( But we also got confirmation that Jack survived. (Yay!! Happiest of dances!) TDC begins with Evie being suspicious of everyone, especially Paul, the jack of all trades handy-medic-cook who's Arik's assistant. And then no one believes Evie's version of events. She wonders if it's her pregnancy hormones. Ugh. It's kind of an odd start. I appreciated that the villain used gaslighting to torture Evie. It feels timely and is super evil. I also appreciated that Evie was not thrilled to have an unplanned pregnancy during an apocalypse. Kind of a low bar, but pregnancy in romance is so often treated as a fix-all, and in this story it is not. 

 

Evie has a huge falling out with Arik, gets kicked out of the fortress, and teams up with Joules and Kentarch (who shows up with a sweet truck). Paul, our new villain, has tapped into Arik's long-standing distrust of Evie and he (Arik) now hates her and wants to kill her. This set up a huge conflict in the Evie and Arik branch of the love triangle. I get it, but it felt like a retread for them. Also, Arik's actions were super shitty. I know he wasn't in control of himself, but he was awful to her for weeks. Maybe I'm not appreciating how he was controlled by Paul. Just, lines were crossed that couldn't be uncrossed. We've also seen other characters resist mind control, especially for the sake of someone they love. It was meaningful to me that Arik couldn't. He needed another character to get out of it. 

 

In order to contact Circe, who is too far under a frozen moat to talk to, Evie & co venture out to find a big enough body of water for Circe to communicate with Evie. Evie believes that Circe knows how to stop Paul. 

 

Finally, in this book, Evie travels east to the Outer Banks. Along the way, the Arcana run into Jack. I have been DYING for their reunion. It was okay. Maybe the way they find him felt mundane? Argh. Jack is Jack tho: hard to kill, cunning, and gone for Evie. :)

 

Evie felt passive through a lot of this story. She's sidelined by both men in her life at different points and it's frustrating. She's a badass, and she finally uses her skills, and by the end of the book seems to understand how to access them, which is nice. It's odd that so many Arcana are scared of her when they first meet her, but Arik and Jack want to lock her up in a secure location. It's strange that the two people who love her the most don't believe she can take care of herself. (She just did that in the last book!)

 

Okay, so Evie & Co plus Jack reach the shore, LOTS of adventure ensues and Evie hits a turning point in her powers. This was excellent. Also, Evie and Jack reconcile and I loved that. Jack just rolls with her pregnancy because of course he does. Again, another low bar, but it really showed how Jack is focused on the now. He loves Evie. If she has a kid, he'll love Evie's kid unconditionally. Heroic behavior from my fav Cajun. 

 

Arik shows up in spectacular fashion and then there's a lot of emphasis on the love triangle. If you want to read about a heroine who truly loves two people and they accept that about her, here you go. (No, not in a polyamory way.) This was well done. All three of them talk about it with each other in depth. Six books in, I want Evie to pick one--PICK JACK, EVIE!--and be done with it. 

 

They return to the fortress and strategize how to kill Paul without Arik succumbing to his control over him again. I loved how this played out. Evie shows what she can do and freaks everyone out. *shrug* I didn't like how, because she's pregnant with Arik's baby, Jack decides to leave and Evie's reaction is to let him. So frustrating. 

 

Highs: I think my favorite part of this book is the main villain. Paul was scary and twisty and difficult to vanquish. There were other villains who were wonderfully creepy too. I also love Evie and Circe's friendship.  

 

Lows: Richter didn't do anything for me in this book. He comes across as a meathead, so not particularly scary. At times, Jack felt a bit muted. He's not really jealous or possessive, which is good, but he doesn't fight for a future with Evie. I get it that he wants her to be in a safe place, but ugh. Apocalyptic love is rough. Love triangles are aggravating when I'm used to (and prefer) an HEA with one couple. 

 

I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I'll do a reread so I'm ready. I know what I'm hoping for, but maybe I need to prepare myself for a different outcome. Bah. 

 

 

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text 2018-02-16 21:49
Reading progress update: I've read 0 out of 368 pages.
Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab I started this this morning but I think with the tragic events in Florida and the nature of this book(s) I might give it a bit before I get back to it
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review 2018-02-16 21:24
4.3 Out Of 5 STARS for this first installment of "The Bargainer" Series.
Rhapsodic - Laura Thalassa

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ABOUT THE BOOK~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear. 

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects. 

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first, it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more. 

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken. 

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

If I was still really into paranormal romance, I would have really loved this, but lately, I haven't been feeling this genre.  That being said, this is still a remarkable start to an imaginative series.  Mostly well written (despite the lack of a decent proofreader) with genuinely likable and kick-ass characters.  The romance is not only sweet but hot AF too. 

 

If you're into paranormal/urban fantasy with adult themes and like adeptly penned, witty banter that draws you in; then you should give this little-known author a chance.

 

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

~MY RATING~ 4.3/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 4.5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4.2/5

Pacing~ 4.2/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.2/5

Originality~ 4.5/5

Ending~ 4.2/5  Cliffhanger~ "to be continued"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ Not all that great, I mean, in the story they say the wings are beautiful, but this wing is…well, it looks like a sad Halloween costume.

Setting~  California and the Otherworld

Series~ The Bargainer #1

Source~  I own a Kindle eBook

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